Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sorry for being 'Dead'

No, I'm not dead, but it looked like it with the lack of content. Its been a while since I've posted anything on Youtube and here. So what's been happening, well to be honest, nothing much. I'm trying to finish up school, I've been experimenting with code and ideas, and I've been working in Alive and Kicking. You may have a lot of questions, and I'll answer hopefully most of them here.

First things first, Blue Portals. I know, its been since November since we posted anything! So what happened with that? Well, I originally wrote an article describing what has been going on with Refresh, and to my luck, Zilefile is no more, which contains a lot of WIP screenshots during the development of Blue Portals, Refresh, and other things. And since the maps were gone (They just needed to be recompiled and fixed up.), the article felt pointless without them. Here is the article:

First off, we would like to thank you for being to patient on us, and we really feel bad to keep you waiting, and the fact that we have been quiet for the last four months. After that whole period of time of silence, it is time to let you in on somethings we have been doing, and experimenting with.
After we decided to pull the plug on Blue Portals 2, we had no idea what to do with Blue Portals: Refresh. Refresh was really suppose to be a promo for Blue Portals 2. With no Blue Portals 2 to promote, the motivation on Refresh kind of came to a halt. With that said, I've gotten 2 maps done, and relied on the other members of rHetorical to make the other maps. But in the end, all the maps I got were kind of rushed, and put together very sloppy, which would have meant that I would need to redo the entire maps all over again. This was due to people working on Alive and Kicking, along with their own projects. I can't blame them.
Around December, I've been experimenting with the idea of mapping you you would in Portal 2 in the original Portal. These elements included the aesthetics, level translations, fractured glass, and other things. And I only used the Blue Portal 2 stuff due to the fact that they were already extracted, and could already work in Portal. The project was looking good, and it was at one point was going to be the Blue Portals 2 substitute. with the few simple edits to a few convars, textures and adjustment of the viewmodel, it felt like a nice Blue Portals and Portal 2 mix. 
So if it was going well, why have we dropped that? Easy. We found out that the original Portal manages its budget so most resources go into the Portals. That is, we can have a nice looking map with damaged walls and nice shadows, and everything, but when you place a portal, the framerate gets cut in half. And on top of that, development on this was not really taken seriously. After all, it was just a test to see how much new we could apply to the old.
So now we are here in April, and no new Blue Portals content to show, and we feel really bad about it. The issue is that we spent on time on Blue Portals 2 for Portal 2, and the more we made ours out of it, the more it fought back with non-working scripts and a never ending rising file size unlike what the original did with Blue Portals.
We loved Blue Portals 2, and we still love the original. Right now as I'm writing, we at rHetorical are trying to finish Portal: Alive And Kicking, as well as experimenting with newer ideas, and getting us off the Portal boat. Its just right now, we don't have that magic spark to keep us working on this mod at this moment. But this does not mean we are going to let Blue Portals end without a ending. In fact, it may just be left open, which will allow us to add anything to the series that we want at anytime.
So all in all, we are not canceling Refresh. Its just going to come at a different time, in a different form, with different energy. We have talked about a lot of ideas on what to do with the series, and how to recreate that inspirational spark and movement we had developing this mod.  Until we scale on what we wish to go with over other projects, we really don't have an answer about the future of Blue Portals. 
This still holds true today, the next installment of Blue Portals is coming, and the entire mod will just be left open. Although no one plays or map for the original Portal anymore, it should make playing Blue Portals more unique then it was. So why not just make it into Portal 2? Well as I said a hundred times over, we feel more limited in the Portal 2 engine expressing creativity, in exchange of looks. I'm still happy with the 2007 engine, a canvas with so much to add!

Since we are on the topic of Portal 2, let me bring up Portal: Alive and Kicking real quick. We are almost done with the test chambers, and are still pushing forward. Of course, there are still problems we need to work out, but other then that, things are looking good.

This Tuesday, Portal 2 gets another (I think this is the last!) update. In this update, people can make maps using a in-game editor, and share your maps on the Steam Workshop. I've been getting questions on what I thought of it and my responds as always been "Meh." I had the liberty to beta test this update since April, and it grew a lot since the day I got it. I'm impressed on the whole system, it's really neat, it can get ideas going, but its not a way to be a serious mapper. I admit, I used the editor not only for testing Valve's new elements, but also I used to to build ideas, then I exported the maps out, and redid it in Hammer. Why did I redo it? Well, because the vmf exporting is a mess. But I need to say, Valve made the right move, Portal maps is what keeps the game alive, and making so any chum can do it, who knows how lasting Portal 2 will be.

A group of people, including myself are trying to rebuild the myApertureLabs community. Just making a short note here, but this new community will support showcasing Hammer and Editor maps. I'll post more about this once the data base gets up, and such!

Finally, I am working on a new Portal 2 mappack, and it may be my last 'pack'. Using puzzles I made in the editor, this collection will contain 4-5 maps in a newer style. I have no idea when it will be out, its more of a "here and there" project. So far, I gotten 3 maps done, so I'm not far!.

Hopefully it will not be another 4 months before another post, I hope to get some videos of the mappack, and other things as well!


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